Wednesday, July 4, 2012

UK Trip Part VIII

While meandering around the pits and touring the island on non-race days, I looked out for interesting and sometimes funny, photo opportunities. In between I photographed the three men in our group! Clive even took a photo of me and Grant so there's proof I was also there! 
Some of the birds on Isle of Man. Clockwise from top left corner is a Jackdaw, feral pigeon, a seagull with a damaged or deformed leg and a perhaps a robin, thrush or warbler
 I secretly dubbed these men Three Grumpy old Men!

On the contrary, these three guys were anything BUT grumpy. Many times Grant had to drive me to a interesting touristy spot that I'd read about and Clive and Kevin would tag along too. Then they'd sit and wait patiently in the car while I took photos, read/photographed the notices pertaining to sight we were seeing and chatted to people (gleaning information for my articles)

Friends, Kevin and Clive, joined me and Grant when we visited the Isle of Man

 The gadgets hanging around Kevin and Clive's necks are earpieces which are connected to the IOM radio station which broadcast from the main grandstand. There were loudspeakers erected all over so that you could hear the races and other relevant news while wandering around the track.

Way back in February 2004, I visited Grant where he was working on a gold mine site in Guinea, West Africa. As I arrived on site, the Client's Director General, Peter Connery offered me a temporary job as a data processing clerk in the Geology department. When my three week holiday visit was up, Peter asked if I'd like to stay on permanently. I grabbed the opportunity with both hands!

After a few months in geology, Peter transferred me to the maintenance department. Kevin was maintenance manager and needed a secretary and I was it! It was one of the best positions I've had and the only reason why I left, was because the company changed hands and and many of us were given severance packages. So meeting up with Kevin again since 2005, was wonderful.
 Kevin and Grant relax with hot drinks while discussing the next race
Proof that I was at the IOM! 

Isle of Man is also home to the tailless Manx cat. I was just wondering if I'd get to see one, when I noticed the large cat the house next door to the one we were renting.

A Manx cat! 

*The Manx cat is a breed of domestic cat (Felis catus) originating on the Isle of Man with a naturally occurring mutation that shortens the tail. Many Manx have a small stub of a tail, but Manx cats are best known as being entirely tailless; this is the most distinguishing characteristic of the breed, along with elongated rear legs and a rounded head. Manx cats come in all coat colours and patterns, though all-white specimens are rare, and the coat range of the original stock was more limited. * 

The following photos are of only a few of the interesting things I saw while we walked through the crowds at the races. 
Bikes belonging to the Purple Helmets Bike Club

The bikes above caught the eye as being some of the oldest and scrappiest bikes on the island. Apparently when the fancy takes the riders, they parade along the track (on non-race days) playing  a baby grand piano which is balancing on the bike tank. I didn't get to see this strange sight but photographed their bikes with the bikers in the background.
 There weren't only motorbikes on the Isle of Man. Above Clive and Grant admire a vintage MG 

 This beautiful machine had the men literally drooling. It's an M63 AMG Mercedes Benz with Gull wing doors (which means they open upwards)
I wondered of neighbours sharing these large houses discuss their paint colours with each other? 

 Say what? 
 Grant poses with a Four-horned Sheep

Like the Manx tailless cat, the Four-horned sheep is native to the Isle of Man. Although we looked for these unique sheep, even traveling to the southernmost tip of the island to the Calf of Man (where we'd heard they could be seen) on a wet and cold day, this "sheep" above was the only one we saw! 

*The Loghtan sheep is a native Manx breed. It almost died out in the 1950's, but now there are many thriving flocks across the British Isles. Loghtan is an unusual breed given that both sexes have the tendency to produce two or three pairs of horns. The ewe's  horns are small, but the ram's horns are strong and long. A sturdy and rugged breed, which has a long ancestry on the Island of Man. The name "Loghtan" is believed to come from the Manx words lugh (meaning mouse) and dhoan (meaning brown). This name could be referring to the light brown fleece, which most of the sheep grow. Once the sheep would have been seen along the mountains and hills in white, grey and black, but now only the brown ones remain. Lambs are born black but change from 2 weeks old to brown. Loghtans have no wool on their legs or face and are similar to the northern short tail breeds.

Loghtan wool is normally left undyed and used to weave lightweight garments. Manx tartans are also made from this wool.

Loghtan mature at 15 to 18 months and are normally fed on natural mountain herbage. Their meat is a dark and low in both fat and cholesterol. It cooks at 165C for 30 minutes per pound.*
 A young family enjoying the Isle of Man TT

Hard day at the office?

Original? I'd say!
At the end of each day, after either a day of watching the races or sightseeing, we'd pop into the Snooker Club with Clive and Kevin. One evening a young man arrived pushing a little boy in a pram. Obviously they were regulars as the men knew the baby's name and he, in return was quite comfortable amongst them. After taking his son out of the pram and seating him in a chair opposite me, the father took a slab of chocolate from his pocket. He opened it, broke off a row with four blocks of chocolate and fed them to the little boy, one at a time.  I wondered if there was a mum waiting at home to put the toddler to sleep or if this was a single dad who'd go home presently to bath and put his child to bed. Whatever the case, I think the sugar-high would prevent an early or unbroken night for all!

Mmm, this is yummy! 
To all my blogger friends in the USA
HAPPY 4th of JULY to you

 Note: * - * Source : Google


  1. My goodness all these motorbikes and men with beards, lol ! I honnestly prefer a cat WITH tail than one without. I wonder how they keep their balance ?

  2. It looks all very blokey at the races but it is good that they go sight seeing with you too.

  3. Great shots of your hubby and friends at the race. The two houses would look nice painted the same color. Love the cute kitties and the birds. Great collection of photos.

  4. I didn't know the manx cat is native to the Isle of Man and I'd never heard of the four-horned sheep. I'm constantly learning new things here at your blog! I was shocked about the young dad 1) bringing his very young son to a Snooker club and that it seemed to be his custom, and 2) feeding his son chocolate. Maybe the boy's mum works evenings?


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